Laurie Kulikowski, TheStreet Small-Business Reporter:
"Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as Obamacare, is a definite."
"One of the most controversial parts to Obamacare, scheduled for implementation in 2014, is the requirement by businesses with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for their staff or risk being fined. Not only will small businesses have to address whether it makes financial sense to either provide health insurance or pay the fine, but experts have been saying that the unintended consequence from the reform is that many small businesses will look to stay under that 50-employee limit to avoid having to comply. That means some small companies might purposefully stay small, by either switching to more part-time workers or worse, firing employees altogether, to stay below the mandate. Not exactly the answer we're looking for if we want to continue an economic recovery.""Small-business hiring will not only stall in 2013, but layoffs will mount as companies prepare for Obamacare."
John DeFeo, TheStreet's Director of Business Intelligence: "I predict that in May 2013, the eurozone debt crisis will come back into the spotlight with journalists asking the inevitable question "Should Greece leave the eurozone?" A Google search will demonstrate that these headlines are virtually interchangeable with headlines from May 2010, May 2011 and May 2012."
Debra Borchardt, TheStreet's Market Analyst: "The new health-care exchange will be a boon to managed-care companies such as Wellpoint (WLP) and Aetna (AET). Both are making acquisitions to boost their Medicaid coverage, and enrollment is expected to go up. UnitedHealth (UNH) forecast that its Medicaid enrollment might grow as much as 8%. So as consumers are looking over those choices on the exchange, many will probably opt for the low-cost provider." "It won't be as rosy a picture for medical-device makers. Sales in 2011 for medical devices totaled $300 billion, and that made them a target for revenue in the new health-care legislation. The companies will be hit with a 2.3% tax on gross profits. Ouch. Zimmer Holdings (ZMH) and Stryker (SYK) may need a tax replacement to go along with their hip replacements. If they raise prices to recipients, those customers may choose to keep their old joints. Speaking of old joints, I predict the Yankees will not win the World Series, and this will make me sad."
Caitlin Walsh, TheStreet's Web Producer: "Somehow Congress manages to solve the fiscal cliff close to the 11:59 p.m. deadline, but no one really knows where it came from or, frankly, can understand it. Well into January, after Inauguration Day and the Congressional turnover, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown reveals it was his grassroots solution that he pushed through with both Obama's and Boehner's blessing. Senator Kerry will be tapped for a Cabinet postion. And then Brown can start campaigning for the empty seat. Again." "Apple TV has yet to be revealed. Again."